Articles: Life in AP|
|My Experience with a Remove Village|
- Mr. Vachaspati Velavartipati
|IBRAHIMPOOR: A FIELD STUDY
By Velavartipati Vachaspati M.A (Political Science), M.A (Anthropology), NET (Anthropology)
Ibrahimpur: A Profile
Ranga Reddy is said to be a highly urbanized district in Andhra Pradesh. The village, Ibrahimpur situated in Parigi Mandal in the district is approximately 85 kilometers from the state capital, Hyderabad. The express run by APSRTC take approximately two and half hour time to reach Parigi. From Parigi to Ibrahimpur the bus take approximately forty minutes. There is a bus facility from Hyderabad to Parigi starting from 6.45 a.m. and for every hour up to 10.45 p.m. At Garsingapuram, the bus takes diversion to reach the village, Ibrahimpur. From Parigi to Garsingapuram the road is excellent. From Garsingapuram, the village is approximately 5 kilometers by single kacha road. Three bus trips of APSRTC run per day from Parigi to Ibrahimpur.
Ibrahimpur is a cluster type village consisting of three Tandas inhabited by Lambada tribe is full of green cover. Apart from Ibrahimpur, there are Ibrahimpur Tandas, Dhadi Tanda, and Malkaipet Tanda. Lambadas inhabit all the Tandas. There 250 houses of Lambada (a Scheduled Tribe) families or houses in all the 3 Tandas. The road facility is up to Ibrahimpur Tanda only. The remaining Tandas are not connected by bus. The first trip to Tanda is at 11.00 a.m. and the second trip is at 5.30 p.m. the three bus trips from Parigi to Ibrahimpur start from at 7.30 a.m., 10.40 a.m., and 17.50 p.m. there is a government laid bore well in each Tanda. These bore wells fulfill the needs of drinking water to the villagers. Telephone poles were laid two months ago from Ibrahimpur to Ibrahimpur Tanda. The cables are yet to be laid. Hence, telegraphically the village Ibrahimpur Tanda and other Tandas are not connected with the rest of the world. When there is no bus, the Jeeps and Autos take care of the transportation needs of the villagers. With this poor transportation and no telegraph link, the Tandas are relatively isolated from the mainstream. For the interior villagers it is inevitable to walk to reach the Ibrahimpur. If anything-serious health problem arises in the Tandas, there will be health problem.
The Sarpanch of the village is a woman, Nathi Bhai. However, her husband Hanumanthu looks after the affairs of the Sarpanch.
Through out my fieldwork, I tried my best to identify the felt needs of the people. As I already have required fieldwork experience, I established early rapport with the villagers. They accepted me as their guest, and interacted with me.
By training, I am Anthropologist. Hence, I concentrated on Lambadas since most of the Scheduled Tribes are at the lowest rug of the society. Moreover, the Ibrahimpur social weather is different from that of Ibrahimpur Tandas and other Tandas. In Ibrahimpur, the caste groups have some sort of education. There is an Upper Primary School and has phone facility for Ibrahimpur. However, the Tandas do not have these facilities. The Tandas enjoy only the Primary School. Many jeeps and autos are found in Ibrahimpur, but rarely go up to Tandas. Total of nine teachers found in all the schools. No Street light is found in Tandas. Two televisions and few radios are found among villagers.
The purpose of selecting the Tandas is an erstwhile nomadic tribe inhabits them. In addition, there is news that their children born to them are sold out to others for money. Now they follow settled agriculture. This means, their nomadism has been transformed into settled agriculture, while pastoralism remains with them. Hence, it is necessary to know their way of life and culture, and changes. Hence, my field area consists of Ibrahimpur Tanda, Dhadi Tanda, and Malkaipet Tanda.
There are economic inequalities in the Tandas. Culturally all the Lambadas may be equal and live in same type of houses, but economically they are unequal. All the houses have cattle before it. All the houses have power connection, but no house has the meter. The agriculture of many Lambadas is up to their subsistence level. Some Lambadas has good land and some no land at all.
There is a problem of money lending by private persons with five percent interest. Many people take money from these moneylenders to purchase fertilizers and pesticides or other needs. Raju of Ibrahimpur Tanda, says that he took money (Rs.30, 000) from a person in the Tanda and repaid (Rs.60000/-) after one year. If the DWACRA women are aware of their money lending capability with reasonable interest, they can lend and earn money. However, they are ignorant of this.
On Dasarrah day, a Jatara will be held in Mudaipeta. On that day, there will be sacrifices to the local deity.
The villagers of Ibrahimpur go to ĎAngadií (Weekly Market or Sandy) on each Friday to purchase their needy articles. The APSRTC bus operated one extra bus trip from Tandas to Parigi on that day.
No chairs or stools were found in the Tandas. Villagers simply sit on the floor. They offered me a plastic sheet to sit. Very simple paintings or writings are found in the walls inside the house. No Newspaper is found in Tandas but in Ibrahimpur. Therefore, there is communication gap between villagers and the government policies.
Wherever I went, whatever the house I visited, I have observed that the Lambadas of Ibrahimpur eat fried groundnut cultivated in their field. However, the groundnut offered to me was of poor quality. The nuts are at the size of jowar seeds. May be this due to poor methods of agricultural knowledge, poor application of fertilizers and pesticides or may be because of poor soil.
When I entered the village, the Lambadas of Ibrahimpur Tanda started speculating about me that somebody came to offer loans to women of DWCRA.
Apart from Observation, the interview was applied. As my subjects are not literate, the application of schedule was ignored. The field guides were the Hanumanthu, husband of the Sarpanch, Hanumanthu, a farmer, Raju, son of Hanumanthu, in Ibrahimpoor Tanda. Because of rain and distance of Tandas from Ibrahimpur, I failed to meet the village officials as prescribed by Vellugu officials. Moreover, villagers say that the officials reside in Parigi. On 11th morning, I went to Ibrahimpur at 11.30 a.m.; no one was there in the office. The office is full of dust, as appears like not using by anybody.
To identify their living conditions, poverty, felt needs of the people and infrastructural problems.
Their way of Live:
Originally, Lambadas are nomadic tribe. They are now practicing agriculture. They kept their nomadic characters like pastoralism with them, and adapted to agriculture. Paddy is being cultivated wherever water is available. Most of the lands have bore wells. Some bore wells are dug by themselves, others with loan. Other than paddy, they cultivate maze, jower, vegetables and groundnut (Ilakkaya Palku), pesalu etc. As they are originally pastoralist nomads they yet to learn the skills of agriculture. Almost every house has the minimum of cattle. Some own goat. Dogs are found everywhere.
Though there is illiteracy, some awareness about politics is found in the Tandas. Pentaiah says, ďOnce Tanda was full of thieves, now the situation has changed. Because of DWCRA the TDP won the elections otherwise we are all Congress peopleĒ Good degree of awareness about AIDS is found. Raju, son of Hanumanthu explains the causes for the AIDS. They are aware of water shed management programmes. They at least some activity related to it are going on around them. All the women of Tandas joined a DWCRA group. No woman is outside DWACRA is found in Ibrahimpur Tanda. In Dhadi Tanda, there are women outside DWCRA group. The people in Dhadi Tanda, while anticipating me that I approached them to promote DWCRA, asked me to come to their village to register the new groups. In past the government has offered a Gas connection to the DWCRA women. No gas cylinder is found in Tandas. The Self Help Group or DWCRA, it seems has not served its function. The latent function of DWACRA has been manifested differently in the Tandas. Each member of the SHGs saved money received the grant from the government and loan from the bank. Instead of starting a business or allied activity to generate capital, they share in that received money and used for their personal interests. Because they do not trust leaders of their group. A relatively good food security is observed among Tandas. In Hanumanthuís house, I found five bags of good grain waiting to go to rice mill. However, Andhra Pradesh Government needs to be congratulated in making the DWCRA a mass movement in the villages. May be because of this DWCRA, which is believed to have helped women empowered, the state has registered the sharpest reduction in the population growth between 1991 and 2001.
Almost all the family members except daughter-in-laws take Mandu (alcohol) during nights before dinner. On 10th night, I was in Hanumanthuís house. All the family members sat before me and hesitating to take Sara (liquor) in front of me. I asked them to take Sara and convinced them that I am comfortable. They bought Mandu (Sara) for Rs.20 /- rupees and consumed it. They spend minimum of Rs.15/- per day for alcohol per head. There developed some fear psychosis in my mind that they may lose their tongue or throat if they did not drink. However, they are in total control even they are drunken. They respected me well even at that time also. Women are very hard working. Amri Bhai went to the field when I went (at 11.00 a.m. on 10th morning) Ibrahimpur Tanda, to look after her crop and returned by 5.30 p.m. almost all the villagers are very lean with darkish brown skin. As Lambadas re believed to have migrated from North India, some Caucasoid traces like sharp nose, narrow face are observed. Their skin folds say that they are suffering from under nutrition.
On 11th to 13th, there is intermittent rain in the area. The road connecting Ibrahimpur and Ibrahimpur Tanda was filled with water. Hence, the communication between Ibrahimpur and Ibrahimpur Tanda became horrible. The villagers felt very happy because of rain. However, the villages have no internal drainage system. The rainwater and wastewater from the houses and taps stand still between houses and became slippery. Villagers are accustomed to it. However, outsiders will definitely fell down.
The earlier generation discouraged the education of their children, Raju says. Raju says, his father never sent him to the school and ordered him to work in the field and attend the cattle. Now, children attend the school. However, it is doubtful about the quality of education.
Polygyny, incest and domestic violence are observed from their conversations. Society is patriarchal and men are landowners. From their conversations, extra marital relations are noticed. Some wealthy men and youth wear pant and shirt, but most of the men wear loincloth and shirt. However, women of older age wear their traditional cloth. Good degree of artistic sewing skills needed to prepare their dresses of women. Almost all the Lambadas of the Tandas are relatives of either affainal lineages or brotherly lineages. If something like tremor occurred, there may be a disaster. Cattle and agriculture are at the core of their culture.
The folklore activity in Lambadas is not noticed. Pentaiah says, there are no singing women now. May be the time for the study is too short to notice.
Villagers watch movies whenever they visited Parigi or Vikarabad.
Children play in the evening before their houses. Because during evenings all the elders of the family are in the house and children play before them. However, no games like cricket, kabaddi, shuttle etc are found. They simply play the game of run and touch.
Tobacco chewing is common among women and smoking is common among men.
The houses are rectangular with no windows, no sunshades and no portico. No internal drainage system in the villages (Tandas). The roof of the house was made up of arrangement of stone plates brought from Tandur.
The expertise lays here the roof with no leakage of water during rains considered as excellent. There are many houses like this built by two to three generations before. Most of the families are extended families. The married sons live with their parents, but in different house. However, the married son and father look after the land as a whole. There is uneven deposit of wastewater at all the places. It is only during dry season, the village (Tandas) appears clean.
Almost all the villagers take Roti made of jower twice a day along with cooked rice. They offered me those Roti and cooked rice wherever I went. Women are experts in making roties of jowar that are delicious. Once I eat the roties and ignored the cooked rice. The Lambadas insisted me that cooked rice must be taken after the roties.
The selling of children is not found among Tandas.
Villagers ask the linking of Garsingapuram with Tandur. For them Tandur is nearer to Parigi.
There was an intense argument between a jeep driver and Lambadas on 13th night. The Lambadas went to Parigi for shopping. The bus due to start from 7.30 p.m. was late. Hence, the Lambadas hired a jeep. However, after entering the Tandas, the Lambadas disappeared in the darkness of the night without paying money to the jeep driver. The driver was shouting but in vain.
Further measures to be taken are including:
1. Isolation is one of the main causes for their backwardness. If the road is extended from Garsingapuram to Tandur via Ibrahimpur and Tandas then there may be some change in their life style. That project may be taken-up under Food for Work Programme.
2. Most of the tribal people are ignorant of worldly affairs. They need radios in their Tandas to know about the government policies.
3. Health Center is needed in the Tandas. Veterinary Center is also needed to look after their cattle. If anything, serious incident happened about their health. They need to go Parigi. There is Primary Health Center at Ibrahimpur. If informed, the doctor comes to deal the case in Tandas. However, to inform the doctor they need to walk for kilometers.
4. As the Lambadas have plenty of cattle, the Government should take steps to promote diary industry. Milk collection centers need to be initiated. Because the cattle and agriculture are at culture core, the dairy industry may show multiplier effect on their economy. The Dairy Cooperative Societies can be initiated. The involvement of women will be a great success in this regard. Raju, when he was with me, always seriously thinks about his sickness of his cow. As they have plenty of cattle and the dung is not at all a scarce, the government should also take steps to introduce biogas plants in the Tandas. With little training, they learn its management. If they learned use of biogas instead of wood as fuel, it is definitely a positive direction in protecting the environment.
5. Lambadas yet to become professional agriculturalists. They keep the dung before their house. In fact, this dung can be used as bio-fertilizer. They rotate crops, but without understanding its utility. They are not aware that leguminous crops help in nitrogen fixation in their lands. Many cultivate groundnut (Ilakkaya palku) Need awareness programmes in dealing this regard.
6. Lambadas have lands, cattle and other livestock. Yet they feel that they are poor and always expect something from the Government. They feel poor because of less purchasing power. Their less purchasing power is due to little currency in their hands. To enhance their purchasing power they need income generating activities like cycle shops, iron shops, electrical works, general stores, grinding mills etc. Vocational training centers for women in sewing, grinding machines can be introduced. Micro-credits can be extended to the villagers of Tandas after necessary training in carpentry, chappal repairing shops, barbershops, iron shops, cycle shops etc. These small economic activities do not need too much money.
7. Lambadas are passionate of watching movies. It can be used to create awareness among them. Weekly cinemas consisting of successful DWCRA groups successful Co-operative Societies like Amul and their functions need to be filmed and the villagers are made to see it on 16 mm screen, then there may be some sense of awareness among them.
8. To check the private moneylenders it is possible to create a credit system by forming a federation of DWCRA groups. If all the DWCRA groups in the Mandal formed like a federation that may act like a lending bank to its members. Federation can do money lending at reasonable interest to its members keeping their land as security. This will be an effective step to check the private moneylenders. This may instigate the non-members of DWCRA to form a group and join the mainstream of DWCRA. This federation may be linked to Rashtriya Mahila Kosh and NABARD. This kind of experiment was a great success in Chittor District under the name, Rashtriya Seva Samithi (RASS). Some of the notable features of RSS are a high percentage (96) of repayment, utilization of funds for income creating activities and generation of saving by women in the SHGs. All the women of SHGs will become shareholders of the federation and will receive the equal share generated by it. If NABARD want to give money to the rural sector to give loans as micro credits, it can be extended directly to these Federations. It will definitely enhance the confidence among rural women and is a real attempt to empower women. Moreover, the profits of the federation can be utilized for productive works of the village or Mandal. Initially, the SHGs may not be interested or may even oppose the concept. However, it will be a great success from the day, when they started receiving their shares from the federation. After some time, these SHGs and Federation will become pressure groups in the state politics. In short, the women of DWCRA will become a powerful pressure group.
9. The cultivation of paddy is not an indication of poverty. How effectively they are cultivating paddy is important and hence, it needs to be investigated. Raju says, one acre gives yields 25 bags of food grain. Hence, the soil fertility need to be assesses to suggest the suitable fertilizers and crops. Watershed, or catchment, conservation should be responsibility of the local people. They need motivation in this regard.
10. To promote sustainable livelihoods of the poor: the growth impulses in the economy should focus on generating sustainable livelihood opportunities for the poor. This can come through natural resource regeneration such as watershed and wasteland development. These protect the poor communities from adverse climatic conditions such as droughts, erratic distribution of rainfall, enhance their opportunities for employment and incomes.
11. Drip irrigation can solve a number of problems. It is very much helpful to cultivate vegetables. Hence, drip irrigation need to be introduced.
12. There are three two tanks in the area. Through watershed, they can be maintained properly as the terrain is hilly. The streams drain into these tanks, and tanks themselves provide irrigation facility to several acres. It can increase the ground water levels also. To undertake these watershed management programmes the women of DWCRA need to be involved. The focus on womenís participation in watershed management is not an isolated issue. It is part of a wider move to emphasize the need for community participation in the development process, in particular of marginal groups such as women. However, watershed management may beyond a panchayats area. Inter-village cooperation may become necessary.
13. Availability of timely and adequate credit is essential for them to undertake any economic activity rather than the credit subsidy. The people of Tandas ask credits only for their crops.
14. Development of agriculture, dairy and related activities using local knowledge and local resources apart from modern techniques to reduce the incidence of poverty need to be initiated.
15. As the villagers go to Parigi to purchase needy things in ĎAngadií. Weekly market or Sandy should be initiated in the Village. It saves their money and time of the Lambadas.
16. The financial resources of the panchayats need to be created. Hanumanthu, husband of Nathi Bhai says that he personally pay Rs.200 /- for waterman of the three Tandas and Ibrahimpoor. Hence the total is Rs.800/-. He asks that they need to be paid by the government, so they will get some security of life. If the financial resources of the panchayats are good, they will be paid well.
17. Medical teams should be dispatched to assess their nutritional level. Because some persons are suffering from eyesight problem despite having plenty of milk in the house.
18. If at all there is any dropout issue of school going children, it can be successfully tackled by introducing a Residential School for Tribal boys and girls in the Parigi Mandal. Modern games may be introduced in these Schools to utilize the local talents.
19. Massive education or awareness programmes using mass media, visual media etc to be initiated providing the information about agriculture, dairy, health etc. adult education programmes can be initiated in the Tandas. On Jatara days, these massive awareness programmes by mass media may be arranged. The husband of the Sarpanch, Hanumanthu and Amri Bhai need to be the key figures in mobilization of adults for adult education.
20. Residential Schools for Tribal boys and girls to be established. This attempt may change the position of the next generation.
21. Protected water tank is needed to each Tanda. Though the Tandas has bore wells, when there is power cut those will not provide water to them.
22. The government should take steps to prevent the waste of money by S.Ts for alcohol. To prevent this Government should launch a programme that every individual in Tandas should be made save Rs.150 /- per month and deposit in a bank. In addition, at the same time the government should add equal amount to that amount. Moreover, after observing one year, the government should give substantial grant to that individual. The banks may lend money to that individual. That individual can use this money to purchase fertilizers and pesticides.
23. The profiles of DWCRA women and the profiles of successful co-operative societies should be filmed and made the villages see them. It will definitely instigate the motivation among them.
24. Under Food for Work programme, many public works can be taken up. This can generate currency in their hands that in turn enhance their purchasing power.
Peoplesí participation in the government means the villagers should be made to contribute half of the total expenditure by all the available means to the developmental projects. If the panchayats are in a position to generate their own resources, then it will be a real development. Empowerment of women is a key to sustained development of the poor. The relative isolation of the village is the main reason for their backwardness. Four days fieldwork in a village may not be adequate to identify the real felt needs of the people. However, the state government is to be congratulated, as it was successful in mobilizing women to form groups like DWCRA. The process of development initiative should to be taken or visualized not at the village itself, but it need to be viewed and initiated not less than Mandal level.
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